Fried Ripe Plantains (Platanos Maduras Fritos — Puerto Rico)
4 medium very ripe (nearly all black) plantains
4 tablespoons butter, divided
Salt or garlic salt, to taste (optional)
2 limes, cut into wedges (optional)
Peel plantains as you would a banana, then cut them on the diagonal into 3/4-inch
slices. Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
Sauté half the plantain slices in a single layer until they are quite brown on the
underside, about 4 minutes.
Flip them over with a spatula and sauté until brown
on the other side, about 3 minutes.
Leaning the slices against each other if necessary,
stand each plantain slice on one of its edges in the skillet and sauté for 30 seconds.
Stand the slices on their opposite edges and sauté an additional 30 seconds.
Remove one slice from the skillet, cut it in half, and check to see that the
plantain has lost its pale yellow, white, or pink tinge and has turned yellow all
the way through. If so, the plantains are ready. If not, continue sautéing them
for another minute on the sides that are the least brown.
Gently remove fried plantains from the skillet with a spatula and pace them on
paper towels to drain. Add remaining butter to the skillet and sauté remaining plantains
in the same fashion.
Arrange fried plantains in one layer on a large serving plate.
Sprinkle them with salt or garlic salt, if desired, and serve at once with lime
wedges or plain.